Mmmmm.....canning apples. Doesn't it bring back memories of Grandma's cozy kitchen? (Or, if you didn't have a grandma that did that, doesn't it sound nice anyway?) Steaming applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling - these are all delicious ways to preserve apples!
For now, though, let's start with the basics of how to can apples themselves. It's a very basic and simple process; and, unlike other fruits and vegetables, is not very messy.
Choose your canning apples
Buy apples that are as fresh as you can find; try to pick firm, crisp apples with minimal bad spots or bruising.
Of course, the ideal way to do this is to pick your own apples at a local orchard, but not everyone has this luxury! I've been greatly spoiled by the great you-pick-it orchard down the road a few miles from us. :-) You can get great prices if you do it this way, since you are buying in bulk.
At the store, though, you might want to ask your "fruit and vegetable man" which apples are the most recently stocked, or which ones are the ripest or freshest. It's important to make sure that the food you can is good quality.
What kind to buy?
Really, any apple will work. It is totally your preference here. Now, the only thing to consider is when canning apples is that apples such as Granny Smiths are much more tart, and you may need to add more sugar to sweeten them up.
How much to buy?
One bushel of apples will yield about 14 - 18 quarts.
Start Canning Apples!
All right; get your fruit and let's start canning apples!
1. Wash your canning apples. You always want to wash any kind of fresh produce before you can it. Besides dirt, there will also be chemicals or pesticides coating the skins; so it's pretty important to scrub that off before you start.
2. Peel apples. The skins on apples may taste great fresh, (and they certainly have a lot of nutrition in them), but canning them is not normally done.
3. Slice apples. You can quarter them, halve them, or slice them, (or even dice them!), as long as you cut the apple in some way. Obviously, a whole apple is not going to fit into a jar, so you have to cut it up one way or another.
The easiest way to slice apples is to use this apple slicer, pictured at left. It makes the process so much simpler! I would highly recommend this tool, if you want to spend the money.
It cuts your apple into 8 perfect slices, and cores it, as well.
Slicing apples by hand, of course, will work just as well. It's just not as efficient.
4. Cook your apples. Place 6 cups of apple slices in a large soup pot and fill with 1 gallon of water. Now, you could also use apple juice as your liquid, rather than water. If you use juice, than you will not need to add any sugar, as there will already be some in the juice.
Boil apples for 5 minutes; then drain off the juice - but SET THE JUICE ASIDE; don't throw it out! You will need it later on.Since you will probably be canning more than 6 cups of apples, you will need to repeat this step several times until all your apples get cooked.
5. Fill clean,
sterilized canning jars
with apple slices. You don't want to fill it too full, though. Just fill it up within 1/2 inch of the top. If you use a
this process will be much easier and less messy.
6. After all your jars have been filled, pour the hot water or apple juice from step 4 into your jars. Leave a 1/2 inch headspace.
7. Wipe rims of jars. Even though this may seem like a trivial step, it is vitally important. After filling your jars, tiny food particles or sticky bits of food will have gotten on the rims. If you do not wipe your rims clean, these food particles could cause your lids to seal improperly, or not at all. I have had first hand experience with this!
Use a clean, damp rag or paper towel to do this job. Dry the rims when you're done.
8. Put on lids and rims. The rims (also called rings, bands, or screw-caps) should be finger tight.
9. Place your jars in a water bath canner filled with water. There should be enough water in the canner to completely cover the tops of the jars.
When canning apples, process jars for 20 minutes,
adjusting time to meet your specific altitude's requirements.
10. Remove jars from canner and place on a cooling rack or a tea towel. Don't disturb for 24 hours, as they need time to seal and settle. Within 5 minutes to 1 hour of removing the jars from your canner, you should hear a "pop" from each jar. This means the lids have sealed.
Check your lids!After 24 hours is passed, check your lids to see if they have sealed! You can do this by gently but firmly pressing down on the center of the lids. If it "pops" up and down, your lid has not sealed. (If it's meat, don't it eat!)
If your lid stays firm, however, than they have sealed perfectly and should now be stored.
And.....you're done canning apples! Great job!
Your canned apples should be eaten within 1-2 years. Of course, they will probably last a lot longer than that, but since they will begin to lose their nutritional value after 1 - 2 years, it's a good idea to eat them by then.
Store canned goods in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
go from Canning Apples to Canning Fruits
You might also be interested in:
how to can